Obese people in Britain wait around 50 per cent longer before seeking help than the international average, a study has found.

An analysis of UK data from a global obesity study has shown that, on average, people suffering with obesity in the UK were struggling with their weight for nine years before they sought help from a healthcare professional – much longer than the global average of six years.

This delay puts people with the condition at additional risk of developing obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea and cancer, the researchers said.

Presented at the European and International Congress on Obesity, the study also found that more than half of the people with obesity had never discussed their weight with a healthcare professional.

Reasons identified for the findings were that people with obesity felt that it was their sole responsibility to manage their excess weight, and UK doctors incorrectly perceived their patients to be not motivated to lose weight.

The study, led by Dr Carly Hughes of Fakenham Weight Management Service, Norfolk, and Prof Jason Halford of the University of Leeds, also found that short appointment times were a barrier to weight loss conversations in the UK.

An online survey was conducted in 11 countries – Australia, Chile, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, UAE and the UK.

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